Mall killing suspect prefers jail's safety

October 10, 1992|By Sheridan Lyons and Glenn Small | Sheridan Lyons and Glenn Small,Staff Writers

A defense attorney for the teen-ager accused of murdering a woman near the Owings Mills Mall last month surprised prosecutors and family and friends of the victim yesterday by agreeing that his client should kept in jail. He said it was for the youth's protection.

"We are not seeking bail in this case. We are seeking the solitude and the safety of the Baltimore County Detention Center, for the safety of my client," said Ronald I. Kurland, drawing gasps from spectators.

His comment abruptly ended a two-day struggle over the bail status of Nigel Antonio Carter, 17, of the 2300 block of N. Rosedale St., who was charged Wednesday with murdering Christina Marie Brown on Sept. 25.

On Thursday morning, bail was set at $100,000 by a judge in Owings Mills. Surprised that the amount was not larger, Baltimore County police brought a new charge of robbery with a deadly weapon, and a court commissioner subsequently set bail on the robbery charge at $1 million.

The higher bail prompted yesterday's hearing, but the Carter youth did not want to appear, Mr. Kurland told Judge I. Marshall Seidler in Towson District Court. The youth's mother and brother attended, but declined to comment.

Although he agreed to keeping his client jailed, Mr. Kurland was critical of the prosecution's tactics.

"I find it grossly unfair that the state should come before Your Honor and ask for a $1 million bail. I'm upset about this, Your Honor, because it gives the state the chance to say, 'If at first you don't succeed, charge, charge again.' "

He said that the Carter youth had never been found delinquent, never been found guilty of a crime as an adult, and has never been sent to an institution.

Mr. Kurland said there had been telephoned threats by the victim's family and friends to the Garrison precinct, where the Carter youth was held after being charged with murder Wednesday night.

At the Garrison station, Lt. Stephen Vaughan said that the calls weren't death threats. But he said that there were so many calls from friends and family of both the defendant and the victim that they raised concerns about a confrontation and interfered with police work.

Ms. Brown, an employee of a cleaning service under contract to Saks Fifth Avenue, was fatally shot and robbed of her purse on a footpath en route to the nearby Owings Mills Metro station at about 2 p.m. Sept. 25.

Assistant State's Attorney S. Ann Brobst, who agreed to have the Carter youth held without bail, described the crime as an "execution style murder" and said the criminal case against the defendant "is very strong."

But Mr. Kurland told the judge that damaging statements the youth allegedly made to police under questioning did not constitute a voluntary statement, because they occurred without a lawyer present and only after the youth was promised he could see his mother, who was occupied by a police search of her house.

Family and friends of the victim gathered for the hearing yesterday and there were emotional outbursts in the courtroom. As the hearing ended, Mary Beth Britt of Reisterstown, a friend of the victim, shouted through tears at Mr. Kurland, "I hope you can sleep at night!"

"You are in contempt of court," the judge warned. "I can put you in jail."

Mrs. Britt's husband, Alan -- who said he had come along to calm his wife -- yelled back at the judge, "You're not going to put anybody in jail!"

Outside the courthouse afterward, Mr. Britt said that he was surprised at his outburst and planned to write a letter of apology to the judge.


Baltimore County police are asking help from residents near Hanlon Park in West Baltimore to locate a large-caliber Taurus revolver, possibly in a black case, that is believed to have killed Christina Marie Brown last month near Owings Mills Mall.

Spokesman E. Jay Miller said police searched the area, in the stream and the bank of the Gwynns Falls at the west end of North Avenue, for two days without finding the gun.

"Our fear is that children play in the park, and some child may have found it and taken it home and hidden it," he said.

If you have information, please call police at 887-2198.

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